BUENOS AIRES (JTA) — Israeli President Shimon Peres and Argentinean President Christina Fernández de Kirchner met in Buenos Aires.
“Argentina does not allow anybody to choose its friends, and it doesn’t choose the friends of others,” said the Argentine president during a news conference following Monday’s meeting.
Kirchner was referring to the influence of the Venezuelan leader and close friend of the Iranian regime, Hugo Chavez, in the Latin American region.
Kirchner reportedly postponed a planned visit by Chavez, who broke off relations with Israel last winter during the Gaza war and is known for his anti-Israel views, in the wake of the Peres visit.
The Israeli president arrived in Argentina Sunday following a warm reception in Brazil.
Peres’ visit, coordinated under strict security measures, is scheduled to include a rally at the Luna Park Stadium, meetings with Argentine politicians, a meeting of the Argentine-Israeli Commerce Chamber, a visit to the Scholem Aleijem Jewish School and tributes to the AMIA and Israeli Embassy terrorist attacks.
His arrival was met with a protest against Israel opposite the Argentinean Congress in Buenos Aires that drew hundreds of demonstrators.
This is Peres’ second trip to Argentina; he visited in 1994 when he served in the government of Yitzhak Rabin. The last Israeli president to visit Argentina was Chaim Herzog in 1989.